Some Midweek Stuff

This will be our only update from now until next week, barring the usual major breaking media news (format changes, major personality changes, or such).

OMW will start next week with a major announcement. Check in on Monday morning for details.

Until then…let’s play some catch up!

NEW ACTING GM ON EUCLID: OMW hears that Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5 Cleveland has tapped the station’s marketing/promotions chief as acting general manager.

Peter Noll takes the interim role after the departure of retired GM John Butte. Or, maybe we’ll adopt the nomenclature used by at least one of our “NewsChannel 5” sources -“retired”.

It’s an interesting move, and we’d have to agree with those who are curious that the choice didn’t come from the news or sales departments. But we don’t know how long the “interim” Mr. Noll’s title is expected to last…

BYE, BYE SANDUSKY: OMW hears that the February 1st LMA takeover of the now-former Clear Channel stations in Sandusky has resulted in a few staff, umm, exits.

We’re told that new owner BAS Broadcasting has parted company with at least two on-air staffers from AC WCPZ/102.7 “Mix 102.7”, afternoon drive host Nick Vincent and evening host Ace Callahan. (We’re told Vincent JUST, and we mean JUST, returned to WCPZ…like, just over one month prior!)

We hear that the station has also dumped overnight voicetracking from Cincinnati-based Mike Weis, which is no surprise…since he presumably came in via the Clear Channel WAN.

We’re also told that sister sports WLEC/1450 “SportsRadio Sandusky” parts company with “Weed After Rome” afternoon drive local talk host Dave Wiedenheft, who moved into the time slot after 1450 dumped standards for sports. Until then, he was a morning news anchor.

It’s thought that morning drive shows on both stations may be safe, but we haven’t heard any more about that.

And we haven’t confirmed any of the above, aside from hearing it from a usually reliable source. WCPZ’s website listed “Ray” working from roughly 3 PM to midnight when we visited last night, and WLEC still features “Weed After Rome” on its site.

But the stations are still camped out at their Clear Channel websites, so we consider the information possibly dated.

Still, this is BAS Broadcasting we’re talking about here. The small, locally-owned group has never made any bones about its desire to be more efficient, cut costs and operate with less on-air people.

To that end, if it hasn’t already happened, we’d expect some sort of Citadel/ABC Radio Networks satellite format on 102.7…if it hasn’t been installed already. We just don’t know if there’d be too much overlap with BAS’ Fremont-based WFRO/99.1 “Eagle 99.1” to run the very same ABC “Hits and Favorites” format. “Eagle 102.7”, anybody?…

MCCONNELL DOWN TO ONE SYNDICATED SHOW: The experiment of syndicating Clear Channel talk WLW/700 mid-morning host Mike McConnell’s weekday show has ended.

Cincinnati Enquirer TV/radio guru John Kiesewetter reports that the Monday through Friday version of McConnell’s long-running show is back to being a local production for WLW, as the host and Clear Channel syndication arm Premiere have decided to end its outside distribution.

From the article:

McConnell says he and Premiere Radio Networks — Clear Channel owns WLW-AM and Premiere — decided to pull the plug because so few stations carried the show live. After 17 months, he had only 20 affiliates, with only 7 going live 9 a.m.-noon. Those seven were in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Georgia, he says.

McConnell tells Kiesewetter that the limited affiliate base, particularly the live clearances, meant the show didn’t have a broad base for on-air callers.

Down at Kenwood, they must be breathing a sigh of relief.

It’s not that we believe PD/AM operations manager (and OMW reader) Darryl Parks wished for failure for one of his highest profile hosts. But for three hours a day, WLW lost the ability to talk about hot-button Cincinnati issues and stories affecting the Tri-State area.

The move doesn’t affect McConnell’s primary Premiere syndicated show, “The Weekend”, which has a much larger affiliate base…

MOVING TO DIGITAL: On February 17, 2009, all full-power over-air TV stations will shut off the analog signal they’ve been using for decades, as the digital TV transition will take place.

OMW hears that nearly a year earlier, on February 19th, the Lower Great Lakes Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) will hold three luncheons on the topic in three cities covered by the local chapter – Cleveland, Indianapolis and Toledo.

The luncheon events will take place simultaneously, and are open to the public.

In Cleveland, it’ll be held at the downtown Hilton Garden Inn, and will feature speakers Steve Hyvonen (news director) and Berry Pinney (chief engineer) from WEWS/5 on the broadcast station side, and Time Warner Cable’s Bill Jasso for the cable side.

Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Tom Feran will moderate.

More details are at the local NATAS chapter’s website

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